IgA antibodies to dietary antigens in liver cirrhosis
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Antibodies to dietary antigens (ovalbumin, β-lactoglobulin, casein) have been detected by a micro-ELISA test in 47–50% of serum samples from patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, in 27–36% with non-alcoholic cirrhosis (HBV-related, autoimmune and primary biliary) and in 50–70% of cirrhotic patients with portacaval shunt. Dietary antibodies were mainly confined to the IgA class (90%). In patients with chronic active hepatitis dietary antibodies showed a low positivity (11%), similar to that of subjects with alcohol abuse without liver injury and of healthy subjects. Dietary antibodies were significantly associated with portal hypertension (evaluated on the presence of esophageal varices and/or ascites) both in alcoholic and non-alcoholic cirrhosis. The absence of dietary antibodies in the duodenal juice of cirrhotic patients positive for serum antibodies confirms that the intestinal mucosa is normal or slightly altered in liver cirrhosis. Unlike cirrhotics, untreated celiac patients showed a high prevalence of dietary antibodies also in the duodenal juice (55%).
Key-wordsAntibodies to dietary antigens Chronic liver disease IgA antibodies Liver cirrhosis Portal hypertension
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